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RailCats fall to Canaries in return home

RailCats base runner Danny Pulfer (right) beats tag second base from Sioux Falls shortstop Cory Morales during bottom fifth inning

RailCats base runner Danny Pulfer (right) beats the tag at second base from Sioux Falls shortstop Cory Morales during the bottom of the fifth inning at the Steel Yard in Gary, Ind., Friday, June 7, 2013. | Guy Rhodes~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 9, 2013 6:18AM



GARY — That the RailCats hung around, even forged a lead in the middle innings, in Friday night’s game against Sioux Falls seemed improbable, given some of the numbers and situations.

In their 8-3 loss at the Steel Yard, they surrendered 19 hits, collecting five. They committed consecutive errors that set the stage for two unearned runs. They made at least one baserunning mistake.

In general, they were not sharp.

“That’s not what I expected being back home,” said RailCats manager Greg Tagert, whose team went 3-3 on a road trip to Texas that concluded on Wednesday. “Overall, disappointing performance.

“Give Sioux Falls credit. Coming back home on a Friday night after a long road trip, you would think that we’d be the team with the energy. But it was not there.”

Sioux Falls (9-13) knocked out starter Will Krout (51/3 innings, five runs — three earned — on 14 hits) with three runs in the sixth, grabbing a 5-3 lead. After Tim Pahuta led off the inning with a homer to tie the score — Pahuta’s sixth homer of the week, as he went 4-for-5 on Friday — the Canaries strung together four straight hits, capped by Jake Taylor’s two-run single.

The RailCats (11-9) had taken a short-lived 3-2 lead in the fifth, with Cristian Guerrero snapping the tie with a homer — the RailCats’ first at home this season, with Guerrero also hitting their only other long ball, on May 25 at Kansas City. They had scored their first run of the inning without a hit, as Danny Pulfer walked to lead off, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and came across on Mike Massaro’s groundout.

“Momentum changes very quickly in baseball, but you could not have had more momentum than we had and we did not shut it down in the sixth,” Tagert said.

Adam Champion, who entered Friday with a 1-1 record and a 7.25 ERA in four starts, picked up the win for Sioux Falls. In five innings, he allowed the three runs, on two hits but six walks.

The Canaries had taken a 2-0 lead in the third on a pair of unearned runs. Brian Kolb and Adam Klein committed back-to-back errors, before a groundout and Jared Clark’s single.

The RailCats got on the board in the fourth when Drew Martinez walked with the bases loaded, after Craig Maddox and Steve Liddle also had walked, and Kolb singled.

Injury update: The RailCats were expected to place starting pitcher Stephen Hiscock on the inactive list with biceps tendinitis, meaning the right-hander would be out a minimum of 30 days. He already has missed his last two starts, with Morgan Coombs expected to continue to take that spot in the rotation. Also, lefty reliever Estevan Uriegas, who has been on the disabled list since May 25 with elbow/forearm inflammation, was expected to be sidelined for at least another week.

With only nine pitchers available, the RailCats were planning to officially sign lefty James Adkins — likely in time for Saturday’s game — who arrived less than two hours before Friday’s game after driving from Dallas. Adkins, who was released by Grand Prairie after going 1-1 with a 6.43 ERA in three starts, spent four seasons in the Dodgers organization, reaching Triple-A Albuquerque in 2010, and one season with the Reds’ Double-A affiliate at Carolina. He will work out of the bullpen for the RailCats.

Among position players, catcher Ryan Babineau was likely to miss this entire six-game homestand, with the hope that he would be able to return for the team’s six-game road trip to Fargo-Moorhead and Wichita. He has been on the DL with a groin injury, missing all six games on the just-completed road trip to Texas. Also, shortstop Zac Mitchell didn’t start for the fourth straight game (he did pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Friday), having missed the three-game series at Amarillo, after absorbing a grounder to his right ring finger. Usual second baseman Chase Tucker again started at short on Friday, with Pulfer at second.

Around the bases: The RailCats went 6-7 against Sioux Falls last season, going 5-1 at home and 1-6 on the road. … Massaro on Wednesday became the franchise leader in total bases, passing Tanner Townsend. … Massaro has reached base in all 20 games this season, though his hit streak ended at 15 games on Friday. … The RailCats entered Friday leading the league in walks (88) and runners left on base (156). Last season, they set league records for walks (438) and runners left on base (800). … Alain Quijano (3-1, 4.88 ERA) was scheduled to start for the RailCats on Saturday night, against Sioux Falls right-hander Kyle Ruwe (2-2, 3.00).



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